7.4/10
16,365
179 user 138 critic

Russkiy kovcheg (2002)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, History | 19 April 2003 (Russia)
Trailer
2:18 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.

Director:

Writers:

(dialogue), | 3 more credits »
10 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Faust III (2011)
Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A despairing scholar sells his soul to Satan in exchange for one night with a beautiful young woman.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Johannes Zeiler, Anton Adasinsky, Isolda Dychauk
Moloch (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1942, in Bavaria, Eva Braun is alone, when Adolf Hitler arrives with Dr. Josef Goebbels and his wife Magda Goebbels and Martin Bormann to spend a couple of days without talking politics.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Elena Rufanova, Leonid Mozgovoy, Irina Sokolova
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man goes for a walk through the countryside with his dying mother.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Aleksei Ananishnov, Gudrun Geyer
Solntse (2005)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Third part in Aleksandr Sokurov's quadrilogy of Power, following Moloch (1999) and Taurus (2001), focuses on Japanese Emperor Hirohito and Japan's defeat in World War II when he is finally confronted by General Douglas MacArthur who offers him to accept a diplomatic defeat for survival.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Issei Ogata, Robert Dawson, Kaori Momoi
Taurus (2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Joseph Stalin (Sergei Razhuk) visits ailing Russian leader Vladimir Lenin (Leonid Mozgovoy) in 1923.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Leonid Mozgovoy, Mariya Kuznetsova, Sergey Razhuk
Francofonia (2015)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A history of the Louvre during the Nazi occupation and a meditation on the meaning and timelessness of art.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Benjamin Utzerath, Vincent Nemeth
Aleksandra (2007)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An elderly woman takes a train trip to visit her grandson at his army camp inside Chechnya.

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Galina Vishnevskaya, Vasily Shevtsov, Raisa Gichaeva
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Making of Russkiy kovcheg (2002), with on camera personal views by members of the cast and crew of the major film.

Director: Knut Elstermann
Stars: Jens Meurer, Tilman Büttner, Ron Holloway
Otets i syn (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A father and his son live together in a roof-top apartment. They have lived alone for years in their own private world, full of memories and daily rites. Sometimes they seem like brothers. ... See full summary »

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Andrei Shchetinin, Aleksei Neymyshev, Aleksandr Razbash
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergey Dreyden ... The Stranger (The Marquis de Custine)
Mariya Kuznetsova ... Catherine The Great
Leonid Mozgovoy ... The Spy
Mikhail Piotrovsky ... Himself (Hermitage Director)
... Orbeli
... Boris Piotrovsky
... Himself
Oleg Khmelnitsky ... Himself
... Herself
Artyom Strelnikov ... Talented Boy
Tamara Kurenkova ... Herself (Blind Woman)
Maksim Sergeev ... Peter the Great
Natalya Nikulenko ... Catherine the Great
Elena Rufanova ... First Lady
Yelena Spiridonova ... Second Lady
Edit

Storyline

An unseen man regains consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. No one seems to be able to see him, except the mysterious man dressed in black. He eventually learns through their discussions that this man is a 19th century French aristocrat, who he coins the "European". This turn of events is unusual as the unseen man has a knowledge of the present day. The two quickly learn that they are in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the European who has a comprehensive knowledge of Russian history to his time. As the two travel through the palace and its grounds, they interact with people from various eras of Russian history, either through events that have happened at the palace or through the viewing of artifacts housed in the museum. Ultimately, the unseen man's desired journey is to move forward, with or without his European companion. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

2000 cast members, 3 orchestras, 33 rooms, 300 years, ALL IN ONE TAKE See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| | | | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 April 2003 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

El arca rusa  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,022, 15 December 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$37,439, 22 November 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the Hermitage museum had to be shut down, the production had only one day to shoot the film. See more »

Goofs

Many extras look to the camera and they quickly return to a default mark. See more »

Quotes

Alla Osipenko: This painting and I; we have a secret.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: The Anatomy of Hell (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturn
Composed by Mikhail Glinka
Arranged and interpreted by Sergei Yevtushenko (as Sergey Yevtushenko)
Performed by The State Hermitage Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Mesmerizing, Seductive Trip Through a Fantasist's Russia
17 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

Western fascination with Russia -whether the land of the Tsars or the cruel empire of the madman Stalin - is one of our unending cultural fixations. Endlessly studied, painstakingly analyzed, mocked and admired - Russia is a massive, ongoing colossal story. An enigma that never yields its deepest secrets.

Director Aleksandr Sokurov is the voice of the anonymous inquisitor who accompanies nineteenth century French marquis Sergei Dreiden (Sergei Dontsov) on a breathtaking tour of the physical and spiritual Hermitage of St. Petersburg. He has made a groundbreaking, stunning film. Shot from a Steadycam in one continuous over hour-and-a-half stream, the film explores the treasures of one of the world's greatest museums. Equally, "Russian Ark" rambles, without regard for chronological order, through snatches of Russian and Soviet history, each short episode a fantastical peep into a wild, rich, often terrifying but always fascinating world.

In the nineteenth century European travellers, most often men (Charles Dickens, for example) and some women (Fanny Trollope for one) visited and wrote about the two untamed civilizations that beckoned to foreigners and promised adventure and intrigue: Russia and the United States. Count Dreiden, a not atypical Frenchman of haughty self-assurance and ample means, viewed Russians as boorish and their culture a gilt-splendored front for a nearly barbarous land. His book would not have been picked up by a publisher linked to the travel industry.

In "Russian Ark" Dreiden is more muted than he is in print but his unquestioning cynicism comes through as Sokurov captures the imagined journey in one building of a French nobleman through both his time and a future he questions without developing much understanding.

So we have both an Acoustaguide tour of a wonderful palace of culture and myriad treasures and snapshots of everyone from Catherine the Great to Nicholas and Alexandra and their children, including an adorable Anastasia, fated to be one of history's silly mysteries. Noblemen and contemporary sailors, bemedaled officers and bejeweled women, a cultured woman gallery guide and apparatchiks - they all fleet through and interact with the questioning but stolidly biased Frenchman.

How did Sokurov pull off a continuous take through over 4,200 feet of the Hermitage with a cast of many hundreds, gorgeously costumed, without a hitch? Unbelievable! That feat alone propels him into the Cinema Pantheon of Fame. At times I felt like I was drawn into the crowd, especially when they depart a dance to head for a fabulous banquet (the dance band is conducted by Valery Gergiev, the only famous - to Westerners - person in the film). And even though I knew from reviews that Sokurov pulled it off, I kept waiting for the seemingly inevitable "Cut!" following a miscue or stumble.

The hint of intrigue and menace that is so much part of Russia's past and present lurks behind an almost impressionistic front with scenes of one-dimensional gaiety almost but not entirely hiding a complex society. Sokurov teaches and teases simultaneously.

As visual splendor and directorial innovation this is one of the great films of our time. I look forward to owning it on DVD knowing that its magic can never be realized fully outside a theater.

Don't miss this one and see it more than once.

10/10.


61 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 179 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial